An international research program has revealed once more that the earliest of commercial pharmaceuticals, aspirin, has yet more roles to play in medicine. The researchers have demonstrated that salicylate, the active metabolite, directly increases the activity of AMP-activated protein kinase. This enzyme is key player in the regulation of cell growth and metabolism and is, figuratively speaking, the cellular fuel-gauge. It is triggered by exercise and by the anti-diabetic medication metformin, so understanding and modulating its activity could be relevant to overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes. "We show that salicylate increases fat burning and reduces liver fat in obese mice," says McMaster University's Greg Steinberg who is a principal investigator on the project.
Aspirin by any other name